What is a heat-resistant cable?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, as some may say when someone complains about the rain or cold. If it's pouring rain, we may put on a raincoat made of waterproof plastic material, and in cold weather we may wear a coat filled with warm insulation. There are also different “clothes” for cables: the jacket – the outer protective cover of a cable – has different material compositions depending on the intended use. The secret is finding the right mix and this requires a lot of expertise. Here are a few examples of how material scientists can design the properties of cables:
The material of choice for the cable jacket is PVC (polyvinylchloride). It is inexpensive and can be easily cut with a knife, making it easier to remove the jacket – strip the cable – in order to attach the connector. PVC can also withstand temperatures of over 100°C.
At significantly higher temperatures, PVC cables cannot withstand the heat and cables with other jacket materials are required. Depending on the temperature range, manufacturers use polyolefin copolymer, fluoroethylene propylene, polytetrafluorethylene as well as silicone, which is also used in baking molds and in baby pacifiers. These materials are able to withstand temperatures of up to 260 degrees Celsius.
If it gets even hotter, the construction of the cable must change fundamentally. In such cases, both the conductive strands and the whole cable are wrapped in a mica tape and a glass fiber braid. This increases the constant temperatures that they can withstand to 650 degrees Celsius. Some cables can even withstand over 1500 degrees for a short time.
Where are heat-resistant cables used?
Wherever “normal” temperatures prevail, normal cables are adequate. Cables with PVC jackets can withstand the heat on a hot summer day, for example in a photovoltaic system. There, other properties are required, such as UV resistance. Heat-resistant cables are used wherever technical equipment can create increased temperatures of over 100°C. For example, this is the case in the engine bay of a car when cables for sensors are routed past hot engine parts.
Things can get hotter in homes with heaters, ovens, halogen lamps or saunas. In industry, there are entirely different temperatures, for instance, in large bakery ovens. Sometimes it can get up to over 1000°C in coal or gas power stations or blast furnaces in steel production.
Incidentally, cables that are particularly heat-resistant usually also have an extended lower temperature range. They are also suitable for use in the mountains or the Arctic, and these kinds of cables and connectors are also in demand at winter sporting events. These components can withstand icy temperatures of -40°C or below.
Which heat-resistant cables are available from LAPP?
ÖLFLEX® HEAT 180 SiHF
ÖLFLEX® HEAT 125 MC/C MC
ÖLFLEX® HEAT 650 SC
LAPP has a comprehensive range of heat-resistant cables, not only in its ÖLFLEX® range of industrial control cables. Some even withstand fire, such as the ETHERLINE® FIRE. It achieves very high data transmission rates of up to 10 Gbit/s with high signal quality of up to 100 meters (328.1 ft) in cable lengths. A polyolefin-based conductor insulation and a wrapping of special fire-resistant tape over the conductors can block flames for at least 120 minutes - enough time for the fire department to get the fire under control.
LAPP also offers an extensive range of heat-resistant connectors and accessories such as EPIC® connectors or SKINTOP® cable glands.